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Posts Tagged ‘Writing Poetry’

What is Haiku Poetry?

Smiley.Face.Smilingpen and quill

If you’re a poet at heart, then you’ve probably tried all different kinds of poetic forms including the fun subgenre and smallest literary form: Japanese Haiku. If you aren’t familiar with Haiku, enjoy learning about this interesting form and try your hand at it.

Without getting extremely technical, traditional haiku can be defined as of poem with 17 syllables in three lines or phrases of 5, 7 and 5 respectively. Although haiku poems are often defined as having only 17 syllables, the term “syllables” does not always mean the same thing; therefore, some Haiku forms have more or less than 17 syllables. (To learn more about more complicated forms of haiku, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku#Syllables_or_.22on.22_in_haiku ) But for the sake of convenience and introduction, we’ll consider the three-line/17-syllable Haiku poem.

The best-known Japanese haiku was written by Matsuo Bashō (1644 –1694), the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as a master of brief and clear haiku. His poetry is internationally renowned, and within Japan many of his poems are reproduced on monuments and traditional sites. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matsuo_Bash%C5%8D )

One of Basho’s most famous Haiku poems is called “Old Pond.” Let’s look at it in the Japanese language, which, of course, has the conventional 5, 7, 5 pattern: fu-ru-i-ke ya (5) ka-wa-zu to-bi-ko-mu (7) mi-zu no o-to (5) Translated into English, we see the syllabication isn’t there, but the short and poignant meaning is:

old pond . . .

a frog leaps in

water’s sound

See how simple, yet descriptive, this poetic form is?

Here are a few general rules to apply as you go on your Haiku trek:

  1. Avoid the use of personal pronouns.
  2. If you use personal pronouns like I, don’t capitalize them.
  3. Use sentence fragments.
  4. Work on an eye-catching first line.
  5. Save the “punch” for the last line.

(For more details go to: http://www.ahapoetry.com/haiku.htm#comego )

Please forgive my importunity, but here are two Haiku I wrote years ago:

 

“The Deer”

A rack and a tail

The blast of a gun echoes

And he lives no more

 

 

“Peaceful Valley”

Sparkling cool waters

Trickle down dark mountain paths

Serene wilderness

 

So, there you have what Haiku is all about in a brief synopsis. Go ahead, try it; I think you’ll enjoy playing with words and creating a work of art in such a short form in such a short time.

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

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On Writing: Rhyming Verse

Have you ever wondered how hard it is to write rhyming verse?

Probably the most common and most loved type of poetry, Rhyming Verse consists of identical (“hard-rhyme”) or similar (“soft-rhyme”) sounds placed at the ends of lines or at predictable locations within the various lines. A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words and is most often used in poetry and songs. The word “rhyme” may also refer to a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes.

How many of you still remember “Hickory Dickory Dock” or “Jack and Jill?” Do you know why they’ve stayed with you all these years? It’s because, for some reason, our feeble brains can memorize words, scripture verses, poetry, and songs when a rhyming pattern formulates the crux of the work.

Can you remember the words to a popular song or even a hymn that you might not have heard for years and years, but when you hear it, all the words AND the tune come bubbling out of your mind and mouth? Isn’t that amazing? Well, the rhyming pattern has made it quite easy to remember the literary piece.

Now, we could take the time to discuss alliteration, assonance, and forms of poetry like sonnet, tanka, and ode (and many others), but neither time nor space permit such a study. If you are truly a poet at heart, then start to discover all the fascinating facets of rhyming poetry with this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry#Rhyme.2C_alliteration.2C_assonance.

But for the time being, here at this blog, we’ll just discuss meter and rhythm in rhyming poetry.

Rhythm has everything to do with timing and the syllable structure of each word and line in a poem’s stanza. Take a while to learn what these following patterns are in relation to “stressed” (accented) and “unstressed” (unaccented) syllables:

iamb – one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (e.g. describe, Include, retract)

trochee – one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable (e.g. picture, flower)

dactyl – one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables (e.g. annotate, anecdote)

anapest – two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable (e.g. comprehend, understand)

spondee – two stressed syllables together (e.g. e-nough)

When anyone tackles writing a rhyming poem, the most important detail to remember is that a good rhyming poem could be set to music. Every word, line, and stanza would fit perfectly to the tune for which it was written.

When I’m at writers’ conferences and have the privilege to critique any rhyming works by budding authors and I detect a real problem with their “rhythm and meter,” I always direct them to a source that might surprise you: the church hymnal.

If you want to study perfect rhythm and meter poetry, look at the old hymns of the faith. They are so easy to read, to recite, to sing. Why? They are absolutely flawless in the number of syllables, accented and unaccented, in each line of the poem. Let’s take a look at one or two stanzas from some famous hymn lyrics:

America the Beautiful Hymn Lyrics

(Note the perfect eight syllable/six syllable pattern in every stanza, including the refrain. Wow!)

O beautiful for spacious skies,

 For amber waves of grain,

 For purple mountain majesties

 Above the fruited plain!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet

Whose stern impassion’d stress

A thorough fare for freedom beat

Across the wilderness.

O beautiful for heroes prov’d

In liberating strife,

Who more than self their country loved,

And mercy more than life.

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

Rock Of Ages Hymn Lyrics

(In this hymn, the meter is a perfect seven/seven in each line. Double wow!)

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

 Let me hide myself in Thee;

 Let the water and the blood,

 From Thy wounded side which flowed,

 Be of sin the double cure;

 Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands

Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;

Could my zeal no respite know,

Could my tears forever flow,

All for sin could not atone;

Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to the cross I cling;

Naked, come to Thee for dress;

Helpless look to Thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly;

Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,

When mine eyes shall close in death,

When I soar to worlds unknown,

See Thee on Thy judgment throne,

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee.

 

So, you see, if you want to become skilled at writing rhyming poetry, study the masters, study hymn lyrics, use your dictionary to find accented and unaccented syllables in words, and try your hand at this most popular and most common poetic verse.

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

http://www.montrosebible.org

 

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June 6, 2016

What Kind of Poet Are You?

I’m sure if you’ve dabbled in any kind of poetry writing, you probably started with silly little rhyming patterns like I did. But after awhile, you might have gotten brave enough to try something different like Free Verse, Blank Verse, or Haiku. I’ve tried my hand at all of them, but I still like the simple iambic pentameter style of rhyme.

Let’s take a look at the most popular styles of poetry. In today’s blog, we’ll look at Free Verse.

Definition of Free Verse

Free Verse is a form of poetry composed of either rhymed or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern. The early 20th-century poets were the first to write what they called “Free Verse,” which allowed them to break from the formula and rigidity of traditional poetry. The poetry of Walt Whitman (1819-1892) provides many illustrations of Free Verse, including his poem “Song of Myself.” Here’s a stanza from that well-known poem:

“Song of Myself”

by

Walt Whitman

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loaf and invite my soul,

I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.”

This poem is pages and pages long and quite impressive. To check the entire poem, go to:

http://www.daypoems.net/poems/1900.html

One of my favorite stanzas is this one about a horse:

A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,

Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,

Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,

Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving.

His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,

His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return.

I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,

Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?

Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you.

*****

I remember reading this poem, or parts of it, in high school, and I’ve always remembered this beautiful ode to the animal that I love so much. Years, later, I wrote my own poem about a horse and had the free verse published in a small poetry booklet, “Time of Singing” (Volume 27, Fall 2000; editor: Lora Zill) http://www.timeofsinging.com/index.html

“Sorrel Majesty”

When I saw his majestic muscular beauty

And delicate sleekness,

My eager heart stood still.

He pranced with such royal dignity

That my soul bowed,

A peasant before the king.

With proud neck arched

And tail obedient to the wind,

The snorting engine nodded.

His keen ears searched.

His fiery spirit traced my slightest breath.

My trembling fingers reached

Toward a trembling velvet nose.

And we both knew …

He was mine.

*****

So, you see, if you have a passion about any topic, you could write “poetry.” Try your hand at it; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Feel free to send me via email attachment a sample of your work. (marshahubler@wildblue.net)

Next time, we’ll take a look at Blank Verse.

Happy writing!

P.S. Time to register for the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. You won’t be sorry! If you’re a poet, you’ll want to sign up for award-winning Shirley Stevens’ work-in-progress seminar when you’ll work with Shirley on your poetry in a small class setting with limited enrollment.

Please check http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx for all the details. J

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

http://www.marshahubler.com

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Dallis Parker copes with bullying at school by dreaming about owning Snow, a wild Mustang, who most folks believe doesn’t even exist. Then she actually touches the horse, and her life is changed forever.

http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Phantom-Stallion-Marsha-Hubler-ebook/dp/B013GUF078/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449523382&sr=1-1&keywords=Snow%2C+Phantom+Stallion+of+the+Poconos

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